The Dragon Ball Symphonic Adventure tour returned to Spain on Saturday, January 18, 2020, specifically to the WiZink Center in Madrid, organized by Oroneta Events. The concert, performed by the Universal Symphony Orchestra, featured a guest artist of honor: Hiroki Takahashi, original singer of the TV series (read more).
Tony Alicante Spain went to the concert, and tells us what was lived there, in the following special article.
It is becoming increasingly common, and this must be celebrated enormously (since not many years ago it was almost unthinkable), that we have more and more concerts dedicated to audiovisual media, whether film composers with several of their works, or videogames sagas, or long-running television series, which with a large fan base, can gather a big audience who wants to listen to their songs and instrumental themes live.
Dragon Ball is a Japanese animation TV series that in general, many people in our 20s, 30s, and 40s remember with great affection, being imprinted in our memories. Well, time passes and you do not remember everything, but you remember the basics, and this is how this concert became a gathering of nostalgia, with great memories for years to come. Nowadays we still have new products coming from this already veteran franchise (the launch of the first manga was in 1984), and in fact, a few days ago, in mid-January 2020, a new video game was released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One (Dragon Ball: Kakarot).
The best-known series of this franchise was broadcast in Spain mainly by some regional TVs in February 1990 (although apparently Canal Sur broadcast a few chapters in 1989, but then canceled its and went unnoticed, to later resume it together with TeleMadrid). The series was the most popular of the 90s in Spain, also generating great controversy for its totally surreal violence and a bit of sex, looking back at what we had in those days, and also, why not say it, because we had a culture very different from the Japanese (people were used to the “light” animated productions of for example BRB international)… Today, everything is much more globalized and it would be absurd to go back to criticize the violence of Dragon Ball’s fictitious fightings, when we can see real violence day after day in any medium, either by turning on the television or clicking our mouse.
The series had a great impact, especially on children and young people in the 90s, and has subsequently been repeated on other television channels. The fact that it was broadcast on regional television channels meant that not all Spaniards followed the series at the same pace and also did it in different languages (As bolas maxicas in Galicia, Dragoi Bola in the Basque Country, Bola de Drac in Cataluña and Comunidad Valenciana and Bola de Dragón/Dragon Ball in the rest of the Spanish territory where the only official language is Spanish)… However, the one that seems to have finally been imposed for the audio effects is the Japanese language… do you remember that the “Kame Hame Ha” was translated into Spanish as “Onda Vital/Vital Wave”? Nor do we!
Before the concert I was able to speak with Javier Gil Pérez, manager and musician of the Universal Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra of the marina area within the province of Alicante (Spain), which was hired for this event by the promoter Oroneta Events.
He told me that he was especially excited about this concert, since these are cartoons that he followed as a child, and that he even had a gang called “els rabuts” in which they used Goku as an avatar (when he had a tail), and that’s where the name of the group comes from. He also told me that the vast majority of the 58 members of the orchestra knew the animated series.
So, at 19:30h on Saturday, January 18, 2020, the doors of the old Sports Palace in Madrid, today called WiZink Center, opened to celebrate the first Dragon Ball Symphonic Adventure concert in the capital of Spain (previously 2 more concerts had been celebrated in Barcelona – read more)
There was still some time left before the concert, and people used it to visit the merchandising and food stalls at the different points of the entrance. As for the tickets sold, without having exact figures, I felt that approximately three quarters of the seats were covered.
Before the concert began, two of the guests of honor said a few words: Ana Cremades (voice in the Spanish version for Son-Goku and Son-Gohan as kids) and Luis Fernando Ríos (voice in the Spanish version for Piccolo and Trunks). Then, the most honored protagonist of the concert (along with the orchestra) appeared on stage, Hiroki Takahashi, who did a “kame hame ha”, winning the first ovation of the audience.
Hiroki was the original singer of the songs with the male voice of the Dragon Ball series, but not of its continuation Dragon Ball Z whose singer was Hironobu Kageyama, but to which the veteran Hiroki is giving voice in this Dragon Ball Symphonic Adventure concert tour worldwide.
The concert was divided into 2 parts, being the first one dedicated to Dragon Ball (153 episodes produced between 1986-1989) and the second one to its continuation series, Dragon Ball Z (291 episodes produced between 1989-1996).
The 2 parts of the concert were mainly with instrumental-orchestral music, very faithful to the original pieces, very well performed by the orchestra, and as you can see, with few songs. I particularly missed the closing theme of Dragon Ball in its song version, although it was performed in an instrumental version.
For some parts of the concert, especially the one dedicated to Dragon Ball Z, sound effects were used (like when he is transformed into Super Saiyan (super warrior)).
Since the incidental music editions of the animated series are very hard to get in the West, and they are not on any streaming platform, I will leave here 2 links to YouTube Playlists, which would greatly approximate the instrumental themes that were versioned (which were the core of the concert). Surely those who have seen the series will remember many of them, evoking pleasant memories.
Playlist Dragon Ball
Playlist Dragon Ball Z
Once the themes programmed for the concert ended, and having a committed audience, a couple of encores were given, first from Dragon Ball and then from Dragon Ball Z, songs with the addition of subtitles, so that the fans of the saga could sing, animated by the singer.
However, the unfortunate fall of Hiroki Takahashi from the stage, which might have been the last or nearly last song of the concert, left a somewhat bitter taste and give way to a worrying situation, due to this abrupt end. Fortunately, the good news that spread hours later, gave peace of mind to those of us who were unease about what happened (read more).
On the other hand, and always thinking positive, it should be noted that the mass media published news of the sudden and unfortunate fall the next day… when so far, they had not mentioned anything about a concert dedicated to the music of Dragon Ball…
Although many people learned about the existence of this concert due to the unfortunate news, which is not ideal, this can help to spread the word about future concerts of this type, and personally I hope this helps to promote upcoming events. Before the concert, the trailer for “Games & Symphonies” (https://gamessymphonies.com/) and “Saint Seiya Symphonic” were screened, and you know the saying… “it’s good that they talk about you… even if it is bad talk…”
To finish the article, we leave you a few videos, to remember the fabulous music we could listen to and enjoy this great concert.
Dragon Ball Densetsu – Spanish sub
Unmei no hi –tamashii vs tamashii
We Gotta Power Dragonball Z ~ Hironobu Kageyama w lyrics
Red Ribbon Army Theme
Article and pictures by Tony Alicante Spain